PDA

View Full Version : Liberace of Literature



naimas
08-13-2005, 01:50 AM
Ever notice that tends to be an GOLD CURTAIN blocking many profound or exceptional works from being published on Christian labels?

I have noticed that some agents have an instant rejection button for anything that goes OUTSIDE THE NORM of Christendom.

Also have noticed that hype and fluff fill alot of the books that do get sold.

Seems like Max Lucado can sneeze into a napkin and it gets published in hardcover. But other writers are lucky to get their message out in thin soft cover.

Anyone notice anything like this? It feels like church to me.

And can you name me ONE copy of a book that addresses church abuse at your christian bookstore? I know that there are a "few" books out there but they are softcover and never in stock. Its in the lets act as though it doesnt exist section. Yet the Liberaces of Literature get full standing displays.

There are many writers who are not fluff writers. This is just about the Liberaces.

How many books can Lucado sell that not only copy Yancey but are retreads of other things he and others have writtten?

ldumont999
08-15-2005, 04:24 AM
Ever notice that tends to be an GOLD CURTAIN blocking many profound or exceptional works from being published on Christian labels? I have noticed that some agents have an instant rejection button for anything that goes OUTSIDE THE NORM of Christendom. Also have noticed that hype and fluff fill alot of the books that do get sold. Seems like Max Lucado can sneeze into a napkin and it gets published in hardcover. But other writers are lucky to get their message out in thin soft cover. I want start by saying that I'm not an agent or an editor. I do have an agent and I know a few editors. It is true that "norm" sells. Publishing houses (even Christian ones) need to make a profit. If they only produced edgy works they'd quickly be looking for other employment. I have less of a grip with the publishers than I have with the readers. If there was a Christian market out there for cutting edge topics and writing you can bet the farm that publishers (both Christian and secular) would be snatching up these outside-of-the-norm Christian works.


Anyone notice anything like this? It feels like church to me.
Not sure what you mean by "it feels like church." Are you saying that churches reject outside-of-the-norm Christians? I don't know where you go to church but our church is full of sinners. We have reformed alchoholics, a few former jail birds and one multi-pierced gothegirl who sit right along side some well-to-do blue haired old ladies, working class day laborers and middle classed accountants. That is what "church" feels like to me. Some individuals fight down their preconceived ideas and prejudices, while others wear them on their sleeves. Everyone is challenged to look beyond the 'stuff' and see a person's heart. I dare say that in our church very few individuals are looking for teaching that goes outside of the Bible though.


And can you name me ONE copy of a book that addresses church abuse at your christian bookstore? I know that there are a "few" books out there but they are softcover and never in stock. Its in the lets act as though it doesnt exist section. Yet the Liberaces of Literature get full standing displays.
Please be more specific. What do you mean by "church abuse" ??



There are many writers who are not fluff writers. This is just about the Liberaces.
Again, I'm not sure what you mean by "fluff" writers. Personally, I'm not a big fan of all of Max Lucado's stuff but I know people who were challenged by his writing and I know one person who returned to church after years of walking their own way simply because of his "Three Trees" book. Different strokes for different folks. I don't write deep theology but I worked very hard to perfect my writing craft and I tried to write something that secular women might pick up -- all the while sharing the gospel. I've received dozens and dozens of letters and emails that offer evidence that my stories touched lives and even brought individuals to Christ. Again, I think we can write different things to touch different people.

MHO - The key to publication is to learn the craft of writing (write well), learn the ropes of the industry (pay your dues and follow the rules to start), and find a market that shares our vision (edgy writing is out there but publishers prefer to accept edgy writing from an author who already proved their abilities).

brinkett
08-15-2005, 06:04 AM
If there was a Christian market out there for cutting edge topics and writing you can bet the farm that publishers (both Christian and secular) would be snatching up these outside-of-the-norm Christian works.

Isn't this kind of a circular argument though, and I don't mean to pick on the Christian market specifically because I think it applies to all markets. Obviously you don't want everything to be edgy (or it won't be edgy anymore), but readers can only buy what they're given the opportunity to buy. I understand that publishers want to publish the novels most likely to succeed in the marketplace, but it doesn't mean there isn't a market for stuff that's well written, interesting, but rejected because they just aren't sure it'll sell. The market might be there, but nobody is willing to take the risk.

Doyle
08-16-2005, 08:15 PM
I think you have a valid critism, but it is really just an aspect of the market, and perhaps the Christian market even more, especially in today's "mood." Boat rockers are not appreciated, and can even be considered dangerous to a publisher. Mainstream Christianity drives the market, don't rock the boat if you want to get on the ship. I don't like it either, for lots of reasons, but until we get rid of TV's, books will not be much different from the pablum that comes at us from over the airwaves.

Best of luck finding an agent/publisher. This is a good place to explore. There is a slew of helpful and insightful folks here with lots and lots of experience. And who knows, someday I might be one. ^-^

Doyle

Betty W01
08-23-2005, 12:26 AM
Louise, that's the kind of church we go to, also. Church IMHO isn't for the perfect, it's for the sick, the dying, and the forgiven.

ldumont999
08-23-2005, 06:06 AM
Isn't this kind of a circular argument though, and I don't mean to pick on the Christian market specifically because I think it applies to all markets. Obviously you don't want everything to be edgy (or it won't be edgy anymore), but readers can only buy what they're given the opportunity to buy. I understand what you are saying but there is some edgy writing out there - just not much. What publishers do is they choose the edgy stuff offered by tried and true authors. They know some people will buy these books just because it was written by a known author. But even that isn't enough to sell large quantities. The edgy books are out there, but they aren't selling. An example is the big end times craze that is going on right now. Whether you like them or not, the Left Behind books sold big-time. There were a few others that came before the Left Behind series though. They broke the ground. People did pick them up but not in droves. End times lit was usually on the nonfiction shelves. Suddenly an "easy read" book with likeable characters and just a touch of sci-fi comes out. It hits the NYTimes Bestseller list. Now publishers are a whole lot more open to speculative fiction for new authors. Whether you like Left Behind or not, they did a good thing for anyone who writes for that genre. They proved that people will buy that kind of book.

I understand that publishers want to publish the novels most likely to succeed in the marketplace, but it doesn't mean there isn't a market for stuff that's well written, interesting, but rejected because they just aren't sure it'll sell. The market might be there, but nobody is willing to take the risk.
It all comes down to one thing. Someone with a solid track record has to break the ground so that some newbies can plant their seeds. If a person is a good writer I suggest that they write one or two traditional books to get name recognition. Then THEY can do us all a favor and break the ground with the something new. :banana:

When I pitched my novel to the women who is now my agent she told me she liked my writing but that the market wasn't open to that story right now. She suggested I write a book based on a column I had running on a website. I did what she suggested and she found a buyer for that book. I wrote a second book similar to the first and now I have two published books. My agent recently asked me to do a rewrite of my original novel. She said "maybe now is the time" and I think she might be right.

Sometimes "no" doesn't mean "never" -- it just means "not now.":thankyou:

Dancre
08-23-2005, 08:55 PM
I want start by saying that I'm not an agent or an editor. I do have an agent and I know a few editors. It is true that "norm" sells. Publishing houses (even Christian ones) need to make a profit. If they only produced edgy works they'd quickly be looking for other employment. I have less of a grip with the publishers than I have with the readers. If there was a Christian market out there for cutting edge topics and writing you can bet the farm that publishers (both Christian and secular) would be snatching up these outside-of-the-norm Christian works.


Not sure what you mean by "it feels like church." Are you saying that churches reject outside-of-the-norm Christians? I don't know where you go to church but our church is full of sinners. We have reformed alchoholics, a few former jail birds and one multi-pierced gothegirl who sit right along side some well-to-do blue haired old ladies, working class day laborers and middle classed accountants. That is what "church" feels like to me. Some individuals fight down their preconceived ideas and prejudices, while others wear them on their sleeves. Everyone is challenged to look beyond the 'stuff' and see a person's heart. I dare say that in our church very few individuals are looking for teaching that goes outside of the Bible though.





Please be more specific. What do you mean by "church abuse" ??


Again, I'm not sure what you mean by "fluff" writers. Personally, I'm not a big fan of all of Max Lucado's stuff but I know people who were challenged by his writing and I know one person who returned to church after years of walking their own way simply because of his "Three Trees" book. Different strokes for different folks. I don't write deep theology but I worked very hard to perfect my writing craft and I tried to write something that secular women might pick up -- all the while sharing the gospel. I've received dozens and dozens of letters and emails that offer evidence that my stories touched lives and even brought individuals to Christ. Again, I think we can write different things to touch different people.

MHO - The key to publication is to learn the craft of writing (write well), learn the ropes of the industry (pay your dues and follow the rules to start), and find a market that shares our vision (edgy writing is out there but publishers prefer to accept edgy writing from an author who already proved their abilities).

I think what naimas is trying to say is sometimes in some churches you have to say the "right" things, do the "right" things, so to speak. we don't discuss sexual abuse or pornography entrapment, we stick to "safe" topics -vacation bible school, home schooling, where to eat, arguments with the family, but never daddy touching the daughter inappropriately, or junior joining a gang and being shot to death. these are real everyday issues, yet do not touch!!! (a friend of my family used to be a lesbian, then God convicted her and she was able to escape her lifestyle. i want to write her story, but would publishers find in "appropriate"? doubtful.)



as for church abuse, some grown children have accused priests and church laypeople of sexual abuse. and some churches even have a "cultish" atmosphere. not all churches are a safe refuge. i agree with naimas. no one wants to trod on such topics as sexual abuse or other forbidden areas.



as for fluff, well, that's why i stop reading christian literature. too much staying on the safe side of life. Barb Huff was saying when she wrote one of her novels, she wanted to have her teenage character address being self-conscious over a hefty breast size, but the publisher said, no, no!! so she had to drop the subject. it seems us christian writers have to stay in the shallow end of the pool, while writers like jane hamilton gets to dive off the diving board.



I look at books on Oprah's bookclub and i wonder how many christian publishers would allow their writers to even approach such topics that are in her books? not many. i feel that there is a growing market for edgy type materials if only publishers would give us a chance. i agree that a book must be well written, but does that guarantee a signing?? Nope. i hear from readers all the time asking for something edgy, but there's nothing there. so here we are, playing in the kiddy pool while the world passes up by.

i've also heard that publishers are afraid to step into edgy material, someone might get offended. if they offend someone, will their books still sell? i think it's more of being afraid about what others think than making money.

kim

MadScientistMatt
08-30-2005, 09:03 PM
When you get down to it, Philip Yancey's writings are full of references to cases where churches erred, sometimes in abusive ways. His What's So Amazing About Grace is one that I'd recommend to victims of church abuse, if by church abuse you mean issues like gross misuse of authority rather than sexual abuse.

Robin Bayne
10-05-2005, 07:59 PM
It all comes down to one thing. Someone with a solid track record has to break the ground so that some newbies can plant their seeds. If a person is a good writer I suggest that they write one or two traditional books to get name recognition. Then THEY can do us all a favor and break the ground with the something new. :banana:


Agreed!!!!